My first reaction to anything I don't understand or like is to laugh a little and make a joke of it. With all of the intimidating federal agents in my house, it didn't seem as appropriate. My mother gasped (as any mom would). She completely denied it at first. "That is impossible. I have raised my daughter to be anything but a dictator," she argued to Agent Todd. I looked blankly at everyone.
I hadn't realized, but the room went silent, as though everyone had waiting for my reactions to this. I didn't appreciate the pressure. How was I suppose to react to the fact that these people said I was going to turn into a "ruthless dictator?" Honestly, I didn't know what to think. Every reaction seemed to flood into my mind at once. My body couldn't handle it, and tears started streaming from my cheeks. Tears? What is this? I felt like such a baby, and I tried to hold them in but everyone already saw. I looked down at my lap trying to hide my face from everyone.
"I believe you all are mistaken," my mother said firmly.
"Ma'am," I wish we were," responded Agent Conrad, sympathetically.
My mother wrapped her arms around my shoulders, and said, "My daughter is no such thing." Once her arms touched my shoulders, my tears turned into waterworks. I couldn't hold them in any longer, and I cried into my mother's arms. I was becoming completely embarrassed with myself, so I caught my breath, and wiped away my tears. For whatever plans these agents have for me, I can't be crying my eyes out into my mother's arms the entire time. My mother continued to shake her head in disbelief.
I finally hypothetically pulled up my big girl panties, and straightened my posture to look at the agents. A sense of duty came over me, and I knew that the amount of maturity I needed to keep was essential for these agents to do their jobs.
I inhaled deeply, and said, "What would you like me to do?" Everyone in the room looked at me, stunned that I was speaking. Agent Todd spoke first.
"We are putting you into protective custody, and we have some things to talk to you about," she said. My mother quickly piped in, "I am coming with you."
Agent Todd flinched slightly, and then said, "I'm sorry ma'am but we are not entitled to share any more with you or the rest of your family. The rest of the information you daughter will be receiving is classified information, and I'm sorry, but you are not on the short need-to-know list." My mother wouldn't be coming?
"She is my daughter," my mother proposed quickly. "I am just as entitled as she is!" The Agents Responded calmly, as though they had prepared for my mother's objection.
"Ma'am, your daughter is a legal adult, and does not require your consent."
"Have you just been waiting until she turned eighteen so you wouldn't have to involve us?" my mother shot back.
"Ma'am this is sensitive information that we cannot risk letting get out to the public."
"So that is a yes."
Agent Todd frowned at her and then looked to me. "We have much to discuss. Please pack some of your things into a suitcase. We need to get back as soon as possible to start prepping you."
My mother was in tears by now. She wasn't about to let me leave her. "It's going to be okay," I said to her. "It might just be best that you stay out of it so you don't get hurt too." Oops. "Hurt" was not the right word choice. The agents knew it too as we saw the anger return to my mother's face. Agent Todd quickly volunteered to help me pack my things with me, and I eagerly responded with a 'yes.' I allowed the other agents the burden of calming my mother down as I walked up to my room. Agent Todd followed silently. I pulled a suitcase from the top shelf of my closet, and propped it on my bed. I stared around at my room, wondering what I really needed to pack.
Agent Todd saw my confusion and said, "You won't need clothes or anything like that. Just bring your important things that will make you feel more at home. We can provide you with the rest."
I nodded and walked around my room, looking for things to throw in my suitcase, not wanting to think about what was about to happen to me. I grabbed a stuffed animal that my parents got me when I was a little girl, my pajamas, and a tube of my favorite mascara (relax, I'm a girl and sometimes we just need a little mascara to make us feel better.) Agent Todd chuckled when I handed it to her. I found that I really didn't have much to pack, so I grabbed a small backpack, and Agent Todd placed everything neatly in the bag. I grabbed the picture frame of my family and handed it to Agent Todd before saying, "I think that's all." I had no idea what else I should bring. I didn't know if I would ever see this room again.
"Okay," she responded. "Take one last look around to make sure you've got everything." I looked back around again, and saw my dusty bible sitting on my bookshelf. I snatched it, and handed it to Agent Todd. I nodded to her to say the I was finished, and she smiled.
"Are you ready to go back downstairs?" she asked me. I responded with a 'yes.'
"Agent Todd?" I suddenly said. I had so many questions that I wanted to squeeze just one in before going back to my family. "Yes?" she responded.
"Am I ever going to come back here again? Am I ever going to see my family again?" I said quickly. She took a moment to exhale.
"That's really all up to you," she said. "I know that's not the answer you were looking for," she said. She read my mind. "But that's all I can tell you." I quickly nodded my head, and she gestured towards the stairs. I took my steps slowly, feeling every squeak and creek of these old stairs. Would I ever hear these creaks again, I thought to myself. No. No thinking. I can't stand to think right now, I told myself.
We had reached the entry to my house, and my family stood there. The agents had packed their things and were rushing them out to the door to the dark SUVs parked around my mouse. My mother's eyes were red from crying. My father and brother had blank stares on their faces. I smiled weakly to each of them, grabbing a hold of the backpack strap around my shoulders a little tighter. From the corner of my eye I saw Agent Todd nod to Agent Conrad, and he looked to me.
"We are ready whenever you are," he said swiftly to me. He had a kind smile, and I appreciated that, but I knew what I had to do next. My mother jumped quickly towards me and squeezed me against her chest. The tears started streaming from my eyes again.
"I love you so much," she said. "Please, be safe." I nodded, and told her I loved her back.
I then looked to my father. We hugged, and he whispered into my ear, "I love you. Keep those eyes open on the back of your head, and don't get yourself killed." The wise words of my father.
My brother was last. We had never been much of a talkative family, other than my mother. We looked awkwardly at each other, and then I hugged him. "Be safe," he said to me. He couldn't look at me in the eyes. I would miss him. He is my other half. I took a last glance at my family and my home. My mother was nearly sobbing now. Agent Todd placed her hand on the small of my back and guided me out the door.
"Everything's going to be okay," she assured me as we walked out the front door. Before stepping into the car, I did one last wave to my family and gripped the cross around my neck as I slipped into the darkness.
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